University of Pittsburgh, Spring Term 1998
Philosophy 0300: Introduction to Ethics
Monday/Wednesday writing recitations
Ben Eggleston, recitation instructor

Paper Assignment no. 1

1. Write an essay of about 3 pages on the following topic. Your essay should make ample use of the relevant text, not only representing the author’s views accurately, but also citing and interpreting specific passages where appropriate. It should also go into as much depth and detail as an essay of about 3 pages can. Finally, your essay should conform to the instructions provided in “Guidelines for Writing a Philosophy Paper.” Three copies of your paper will be due at the beginning of your recitation section on Monday, January 26.

One point of divergence between the views presented by Socrates and Callicles in the Gorgias is found in the passage from 491e to 494e, in which Socrates and Callicles respectively present the “adaptive” conception and the “expansive” conception of how to manage one’s appetites. Which conception makes more sense? Which conception better captures your idea of “true happiness”? Choose one of these two views and defend it as superior to the other, appealing to reasons discussed in this passage, reasons discussed in other parts of the Gorgias and, possibly, reasons not discussed in the Gorgias at all.

2. After you turn in your three copies in your recitation section, two of your three copies will be given to two of your classmates, who will read your paper and makes comments on it. Also, you will be given copies of two of your classmates’ papers, and you are to read them and make comments on them. When reading and commenting on your classmates’ papers, be sure to do the following:

The two papers you will be given on January 26 are due, with your comments on them, at the beginning of your recitation section on Wednesday, January 28.